Indians vs Sunrisers, Talking Points: MI just that one step ahead of Sunrisers
Quinton de Kock played a patient knock while Manish Pandey took the game into the Super Over. (BCCI Images)

Sunrisers Hyderabad came close but couldn’t prevent Mumbai Indians from sealing their passage to the Playoff. Manish Pandey‘s stunning knock helped push the game into the Super Over – the second of the season – but it was once again the death-over genius of Jasprit Bumrah which stood head and shoulder above the rest. We examine a few passages of play which led to the outcome of the match.

De Kock’s fighting fifty

Often, in the presence of Rohit Sharma, Hardik Pandya and Kieron Pollard, we tend to forget just how crucial an element Quinton de Kock has been for his side. When they all fall, de Kock rises to the occasion. He had done it earlier this season and he did it again last night by scoring a gritty half-century when the rest of the batsmen around him struggled to get going. Rohit had gotten off the blocks, but Khaleel Ahmed’s double strike took out the MI skipper and later Suryakumar Yadav after both batsmen had received starts. MI could still afford to breathe easy with the likes of the Pandya brothers and Pollard to come, but neither’s ability to contribute means that it was once again de Kock to who had to lift MI in the death. De Kock reached his fourth fifty for MI this season but it was the slowest of the lot. Heck, it was the slowest fifty of the season, but its importance cannot be undermined considering de Kock ensured he remained there till the end. He struck just four boundaries and one six in the first 16 overs but accelerated mildly as the innings approached its closure.

Bumrah exposes Sunrisers’ brittle order

Thanks largely to David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, who have made up for Sunrisers’ under-cooked middle order. Each time, they’d lost the two openers cheaply, Sunrisers have struggled to get going. Hence, it was important for MI to get the openers quickly. And rightly so, it was Bumrah who stepped up. After SRH had raced away to 40 inside four overs, and Wriddhiman Saha had slapped Bumrah for two boundaries in the over, the pacer returned strongly to get his man off the final delivery off the fourth over after the batsman found Ewin Lewis at point. Off Bumrah’s next ball, which was the first delivery off the fifth over, Martin Guptill was trapped leg before wicket. Openers gone, Sunrisers 57 for 2.

Krunal, Chahar choke Sunrisers

Now, the Wankhede Stadium is not one where spinners have their say much. Sure, the occasional two wicket burst is expected, but rarely will you see spinners tie the opposition down with additional assist from the surprise. However, Thursday was surprisingly contrasting. Sunrisers had already knocked off 57 runs in quick time, and with a required rate of just over 7, which is chaseable nine out of ten times barring a chaotic transformation, before Krunal Pandya and Rahul Chahar were introduced. And both spinners kept Pandey and skipper Kane Williamson on their feet. Both batsmen were slow to begin, which spiked the asking rate. Chahar did not get a wicket, but applied pressure sternly from one end, which resulted in a wicket for Krunal. He reviewed successfully a leg before call to send Williamson back and later struck to remove Vijay Shankar as Sunrisers were reduced to 98 for 4.

Pandey pushes the game into Super Over

After Abhishek Sharma was out caught behind to Hardik, Pandey was SRH’s last hope. The man has easily been the side’s top batsman after Warner and Bairstow and SRH needed him to take the game through. Thankfully, he received solid support from Mohammad Nabi, with whom Pandey combined for 40 runs. Nabi and Pandey took SRH close with some useful blows towards the end. Nabi drilled Lasith Malinga for a six and Pandey brought the equation further down with two boundaries off Bumrah in the penultimate over. With 17 needed off the last over, Nabi got a maximum and Pandey struck a six off the final ball to take the match into the Super Over

Mumbai third team to make Playoff

After a thrilling game ensured a second Super Over of the season, SRH sent out Pandey and Nabi to take their onslaught forward, but a first-ball run out laid waste to those plans. Nabi struck a six off Bumrah but was bowled next ball to leave MI with just eight to win. Hardik struck a six first ball from Rashid and followed it with a single. Third ball, Pollard and Pandya ran two which means that MI were through to the Playoff, joining Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals in the final four.